LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles Police Department wants to cut down the number of non-emergency 911 calls.
Last year, 2.3 million 911 calls were made to the department’s dispatch centers, and about 70 percent of them were for non-emergencies.
“People call to get their gas turned on, they call because of plumbing leaks, they call because of cats in trees and because of loud barking dogs and all that,” Chief Charlie Beck said. “All those things are matters for the government to address, but don’t use your emergency operation center to do it.”
Beck said the department also has a shortage of 911 operators.
“We are down over 60 911 operators from our normal deployment. We are taxed at the limit,” he said.
Although the department expects to hire some additional dispatchers, “We can never keep up the workload if people don’t use the system as intended,” Beck said.
The department has released a PSA campaign, which features Mayor Eric Garcetti, to explain when to call 911 and when to use (877) ASK-LAPD.
“Think about what you’re calling about,” Beck said.